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AFC Champions League Preview: Evergrande confident approaching round of 16

Guangzhou Evergrande coach Fabio Cannavaro is confident in his team’s ability heading in the AFC Champions League (ACL) round of 16.

Evergrande – 2013 champions – will travel to two-time winners Seongnam (1995, 2010) for the first leg of their last-16 tie at Seongnam Tancheon Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Cannavaro’s men earned a spot in the knockout rounds after topping Group H by one point ahead of FC Seoul, and the Italian boss is buoyant about the Chinese champions’ chances in their quest for a second Asian crown.

“We were in a tough group and qualified with one round left and I am very happy with it,” Cannavaro said via AFC’s official website.

“We’ve been through lots of change this season and overcame many difficulties, but still we managed to qualify as the winner of the group.

“But at last I think if we can show our quality, we can decide the result. We should focus on ourselves in every match.”

South Korea’s Seongnam reached the round of 16 as runners-up in Group F behind Gamba Osaka, despite finishing level on points.

Seongnam coach Kim Hak-bum is aware of Evergrande’s quality, with Brazilian recruit Ricardo Goulart topping the ACL goalscoring charts with six alongside Shandong Luneng’s Yang Xu.

“Guangzhou Evergrande have good players, but it is hard to make a full analysis on them just yet, so I want to have a good preparation for these matches,” said Kim.

Kim is also hopeful of welcoming back forward Hwang Ui-jo and defender Kim Tae-yoon, who were injured against Gamba on matchday six.

“I am also hoping to get our injured players back in time for those games as I expect the tournament to be tougher as it progresses,” he added.

There are three other matches on Wednesday, with Seoul hosting Gamba in the Korean capital,

Naft Tehran entertain Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, while Al Ain will travel across United Arab Emirates to take on Al Ahli.

On Tuesday, 2006 champions Jeonbuk Motors play host to Beijing Guoan.

Suwon Bluewings go head-to-head with Kashiwa Reysol, Persepolis take on Al Hilal, while Al Sadd host Lekhwiya in an all-Qatari affair.

Sun 17 May, 2015
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